It’s all over and Carlsen has successfully defended his world championship title. At this point Carlsen has 6 wins and only one loss in world championship matches which is seriously impressive. A point down everyone expected Anand to come out swinging but he stuck with his Berlin Defence which really surprised me - I expected the Sicilian. The Berlin is famous for being the opening Vladmir Kramnik used to block Garry Kasparov in their title match - it’s a very difficult opening for white to beat but at the same time not very easy for black to win either. Most games end in draws (Apparently 38.9%).
Despite the opening tending towards a draw Anand played well and got into a promising position. Former woman’s world champion Susan Polgar thought that Anand had winning chances at move 25. Unfortunately Anand got carried away and played a bad exchange sacrifice. Carlsen jumped on it playing extremely accurately and Anand’s position slowly started falling apart. He resigned on move 45. That gave Carlsen 6.5 points out of 12 and secured his title.
All in all this was a much better match than last time and the difference between the two players was smaller than the 6.5 - 4.5 scoreline would suggest. In the end the difference was that Carlsen made fewer mistakes in critical situations. He won the ‘big points’ to borrow the tennis term.
I’ve learned a lot from all the commentators and analysis of the games - especially concerning end games which Carlsen plays amazingly well (although Anand played superbly in Game 7 to hold Carlsen to a draw when he was a piece down).
Carlsen now has some breathing room - his next title defence will be in 2016. I don’t think Anand will manage another Candidates win and my pick for next challenger is the current world no.2 Fabiano Caruana.
Full commentary on the game here.